Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

I am truly lucky. I have a job, again. My new position allows me to help people who are experiencing frustration with bureaucracy. Because I have been a person who has experienced so much of this type of difficulty myself, when I say, “I understand,” the words, I trust, never sound hollow. Sometimes I, too, have been very desperate – trying to find educational help for a relative; navigating the mental health system with a friend at his lowest; a life and death situation medically; a financial crunch as a young widow with two small children to support; victimized by a supposed “support” system for people with disabilities; suffered abuse as a disabled person in a medical institution…

Many times people have nowhere to turn or have run out of people to turn to because their emotions run high. How fortunate I am to have some training (thank you Selma Wasserman) and skills to assist people in a calm, soothing, rational manner. When people feel heard, they feel trust. With trust they can often move forward through difficulties with more strength. Empathetic responses can be learned. With practice they come naturally. Because the true passion for social justice comes both from my upbringing and my DNA, these learned responses are most fitting with my own character when crisis is in the voice of another human being.

I also find myself as advisor to friends and family. It is these same calm yet rational listening skills that are so helpful. I set firm limits on my time, but do so with kindness and care. No one, I hope, ever feels shut out by the limits. On the contrary, it is my hope that the limits keep me from being overburdened, yet also empower the individual to find some applicable options and take actions from our interactions.

BackgroundPearls3_1I write this after an interaction with a colleague for whom I have great admiration and respect. He is dealing with a person who has a particularly difficult personality. We had several conversations yesterday – some at work. I had to limit the time we spoke and yet my friend was very anxious to debrief with me and find some solutions to this terrible problem. I also found an email when I arrived home. Eliminating names, this is the gist of the content – I wanted to capture the pearls of my words, just in case they come in handy again!

“Don’t worry about the difficult person. He is not worth the stress. Stress is bad for your health. You need to stay healthy for your family.

This difficult person is poison to you. Don’t drink in his words. Poison is safe in a bottle – to be observed but never ingested.

My friend, there is always something good from every experience. Think of this is an opportunity. Every problem is just an opportunity in disguise. It is finding the opportunity that is sometimes the puzzle.

Enjoy life’s beauty.  Life is short.”

This morning he found his solution. Embedded in his email to me were some of these pearls.

Helping others is gratifying. We both gained happiness from our interaction.

Inspired by Chris and dedicated to Wendy…

I often find a soak in the tub a good place for meditation…I can think a bit and then dissolve my thoughts and just concentrate on sensory input. I listen (the delightful quiet of my home, water as I move), I feel (warm, soothing water), I smell (luckily in my own home just the hot wellwater, unscented soap, salty skin), I see (the familiar), I taste (must remember to taste even when my mouth is empty and associate smell and taste – note the saltiness, the hot water can be tasted in my mouth if I make the conscious effort). I relax without thought so easily because I have practiced.

Often, after, I have delicious thoughts. Today I was musing about a brief conversation with Chris (’twas by email) about truly listening and thinking. It blended well with an audiobook I am listening to,  The Virus of the Mindmemes spread…people have ideas, non-sensory bits in their minds, often meaningless, often untrue – that spread from person to person without consicousness or evaluation. My bathtub epiphany is that if the mind should be filled with 100% sensory input, and those of us lucky enough to have five intact senses are clever enough to use them, we can achieve happiness. Missing a sense, no problem, the other four senses are able and willing to fill the 100%, performing at a higher level. Nice!

A child, not yet overinfected with memes experiences happiness, lives in the present, enjoying sensory input. Perhaps, says my relaxed mind as it floats in the peaceful water, memes start to take over a greater and greater percentage of the available mind as we age, squeezing out the space where sensory input, the real stuff of mind lives.

Those suffering the greatest misery are most infected by the virus of the mind. The cure has been known for eons. It is not a pill. We don’t need to  find God or suffer a stroke like Jill Bolte Taylor. To be alive is to utilize our senses. Sometimes we are so removed from them that we feel lost. We can be caught up in culture, in judgment, in  yesterday, in tomorrow. The now, the loving kindness we show to others and that we are shown; our humanity is our five senses. Happiness, when it seems elusive, is within us.  To use our senses, to love and give, to be loved and accept our gifts… we have only 23,000 protein-coding genes- about the same number as an ear of corn or a roundworm. We are not so complex.

Life is simple and I am grateful.